Hisense U8H mini-LED
“The U8H is a flabbergastingly good TV.”
- Intensely vibrant
- Class-leading black levels
- Impressive HDR imaging
- Vibrant, accurate Color
- Surprisingly Good Sound
- Quirky user interface
- Some bugs
Hisense once more has shattered my expectations.
The Hisense U8H is the corporate’s first mini-LED television. Since I’d yet to be impressed with any TV brand’s first attempt on the next-gen LED backlighting tech, I figured I already had good reason to temper my expectations. Add to that the undeniable fact that Hisense’s TV’s haven’t historically produced what I’d call “accurate” picture quality — no less than not without considerable tweaking — and I believed I had enough experience to suggest I knew the U8H before I’d unboxed it.
I used to be so very, utterly unsuitable.
The Hisense U8H is the type of TV that makes a mockery of far more expensive TVs that literally pale as compared. You may spend greater than double on a TV from Samsung, Sony, or LG and still not get as powerfully vibrant and arrestingly deep an image as this TV puts out. That being the case, you’d think the U8H would easily earn my enthusiastic suggestion. Unfortunately, this TV has a couple of quirks that give me pause. Read on to search out out if the Hisense U8H could be best for you.
Out of the box
From the front, the Hisense U8H is a familiar-looking TV: barely visible bezels on the highest and sides, a slim silver strip along the underside with Hisense’s logo stamped in the center, and a pair of unassuming legs that might be placed in a narrow or wide stance, depending on how wide your media stand could also be.
From the back, it’s immediately clear Hisense aimed to do something different with this TV’s audio system. Smack in the midst of the back cover is a big, oval grill covering a speaker of some sort. Seems, it’s the TV’s “subwoofer,” and it’s indeed a foreshadowing of some very loud things to come back.
Included with the TV is a Google TV-style handheld remote control with provided batteries. The distant is technically backlit, but not in a helpful way. The backlighting is amazingly dim and only lasts for a few seconds before dimming. Should you don’t already know where the button you would like to press is positioned, the distant’s backlight isn’t going to be of any help.
Hisense U8H QLED Series details
While we reviewed the 65-inch 65U8H model, our review also applies to the 55-inch model. Hisense also makes a 75-inch model, but it surely may use an IPS LCD panel, which could affect its performance enough that my evaluation here wouldn’t apply.
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Setup and user interface
Because the U8H is a Google TV running on Android OS, the essential setup process might be extremely easy — provided you’ve gotten a Google account and are willing to make use of the Google Home app in your mobile device. Should you’re immune to that concept, then you definately’ll must spend some bonus time with the clicker.
The U8H has a user interface that, at times, generally is a bit frustrating.
It ought to be noted that as a Google TV, the U8H also might be operated as a dumb TV. That’s, you’ll not use any of the TV’s built-in apps, voice control, etc., you’ll just use the distant to access HDMI ports and possibly the TV’s tuner, then enjoy content through whatever device(s) you’ve connected to the TV.
Once the breezy affair of basic setup is over and also you start the work of customizing the TV’s picture and sound settings … let’s just say that “issues” begin to emerge.
The U8H, like most of Hisense’s TVs, has a native user interface that, at times, generally is a bit frustrating. While navigating through the TV’s various options is usually quite snappy, the user interface may occasionally freeze up and take a couple of seconds to catch up and return to normal operation. That is an intermittent enough issue that I can look past it. But from there, the frustrations mount. Mostly because I believe the user has to do an excessive amount of work to get essentially the most out of the TV.
Zeke Jones/Digital Trends
Reasonably than simply complain, here’s what I suggest all U8H owners do to get essentially the most out of the TV:
- Under the image preset menu, select any mode aside from “Energy Saving.” I personally prefer Filmmaker Mode, Theater Day, and Theater Night, but any mode aside from Energy Saving will unlock the TV’s full brightness potential
- Repeat this process while watching SDR, HDR, and Dolby Vision content through each streaming apps and any device connected via an HDMI port
- Should you don’t select the “apply to all inputs” option, you’ll must repeat this process for every device connected to an HDMI input
- Under the Backlight setting menu, consider disabling the Ambient Light Sensor
- This setting allows the TV to regulate its brightness based on ambient light conditions. Typically, it too severely caps the TV’s peak brightness ability
- For any 4K HDR source, but especially next-gen gaming consoles, you’ll must enable HDMI Enhanced mode
- This feature can only be accessed using the Quick menu button on the distant, positioned on the far left, just above the Netflix button
- Repeat this process for every HDMI input, as needed
While this may occasionally not read like lots of work, it does take some time. Plus, you could be something of an authority to know that this work must be done in any respect, never mind how buried a few of it could be. As such, I’m concerned not everyone who purchases the U8H will get the experience they deserve — an experience the TV is able to delivering, but only with very specific adjustment.
Hisense U8H measurements
Considered one of the things that has impressed me most about Hisense TVs prior to now is their tendency to underpromise and overdeliver. In other words, the TV’s real-world performance exceeds that which is promised on the box and on spec sheets. The U8H continues this trend in a giant way.
When measuring the U8H’s peak brightness — which Hisense claims to be 1,500 nits — I discovered that it exceeded that mark handily. In HDR, the TV delivered just over 2,000 nits as measured with a Spectracal C6 Colorimeter run by Calman Ultimate calibration software. The C6 can only read as much as 2,000 nits, so it’s possible the TV was even brighter. I’ll amend this section once I’ve tested it with a more capable spectroradiometer. Regardless, the UH8’s performance far exceeds Hisense’s own claims.
In SDR Filmmaker Mode, the TV put out about 1,200 nits, and it could have gone even brighter in one other picture mode. At full-screen white, the U8H put out 1,000 nits, which is unheard of. Suffice it to say that the U8H is essentially the most qualified “vibrant room TV” I’ve had the pleasure of testing.
Blooming and halo effect on the U8H is virtually non-existent.
Color performance in Filmmaker Mode (which is supposed to be essentially the most accurate out-of-the-box picture preset) was admirable, with color errors just barely edging into visible territory. With a really minor adjustment to the TV’s 2-point white balance, the colour accuracy in SDR and HDR was amongst the most effective I’ve seen from any TV, including people who cost two to thrice greater than the U8H. Again, my expectations were handily exceeded.
Blooming and halo effect on the U8H is virtually non-existent. On the whole, the U8H’s mini-LED backlight system control gave the impression to be very responsive. Paired with the TV’s high brightness, the resulting picture offered eye-popping contrast. In actual fact, the black levels appeared so good, that I’d say the U8H treads into OLED TV territory.
Black level and low luminance color measurements, nevertheless, point to some crushing of the blacks and color errors in dimmer scenes. While the measurements are accurate for test patterns, I’ve not convinced the readings I got bear out in real-world content viewing. Subjectively, the TV didn’t show obvious signs of crushed blacks, nor were colours visibly off to the naked eye.
When viewing 4K content, be it in SDR, HDR, or Dolby Vision, the Hisense U8H’s picture quality is nothing wanting stunning. Again, with 4K content, I’d put the U8H up against $3,000 mini-LED TVs from Samsung, Sony, and LG, and challenge anyone to justify the added expense charged by those three brands. I’m flabbergasted by what Hisense is offering for the 65-inch U8H’s $1,400 MSRP, and in flat-out disbelief that the 65-inch model is already available for under $1,000. The term “value” fails to encapsulate what the U8H has to supply.
With lower resolution content, nevertheless, the Hisense U8H starts to indicate that it doesn’t have processing chops as fine-tuned as its dearer competition. Not at all is the image quality poor, however the U8H isn’t in a position to render 1080p, 1080i, and 720P resolution content as cleanly as, say, a Sony X95K or Samsung QN90B. That being the case, the truly terrible quality of some non-HD cable signals is quickly apparent.
Zeke Jones/Digital Trends
To be honest, it’s hard to know the way hard to knock the U8H over this. While 4K content is abundant now — with lots of of titles available to stream via Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+ and lots of other apps — and even non-4K content from the essential tier of apps like Hulu and Paramount+ looks excellent without the assistance of advanced processing, I’m aware that many people still get their content from cable providers, and people lossy, low bit-depth signals don’t look all that great without some help from the TV to make them look higher. The Hisense U8H could make crappy cable look a little bit bit higher than it’s by nature, but I fear not well enough to satisfy those that have seen higher — especially in the event that they are stepping up in size from a smaller TV, where the larger screen size makes a few of these issues more apparent.
One other note: The U8H’s motion resolution for content delivered at 60Hz or less leaves a little bit something to be desired. Unless motion smoothing of the heaviest degree is engaged (thereby introducing Soap Opera Effect), there’s noticeable stutter in vibrant objects during heavy panning scenes.
The Hisense U8H’s onboard sound system is way more robust than present in most TVs and, consequently, the U8H does indeed sound higher than most TVs. In actual fact, it sounds pretty good! I’d still get a soundbar, though. This TV deserves sound as grand as its picture.
Zeke Jones/Digital Trends
I can best describe the U8H’s sound quality as “meaty.” The built-in subwoofer found on the back of the TV adds lots of depth and punch to the sound, giving it more presence than TVs that attempt to eek any amount of bass out of two tiny speakers buried at the underside of the TV cabinet. I also feel just like the U8H occasionally has a good stereo field, with sound effects coming from well beyond the borders of the TV. As TV sound goes, it’s easily within the ninetieth percentile. But since the picture is so good, I believe the sound ought to be no less than as impressive, if no more impressive. As such, I suggest a soundbar. I believe most users, though, shall be impressed with the TV’s onboard audio.
The Hisense U8H has nearly all the things a console gamer could want: two HDMI 2.1 inputs, 120Hz refresh rate, VRR (variable refresh rate) and Freesync Premium, and input lag hovering around just 8ms. It’s also got an auto game mode in-built, and the image settings within the TV’s game mode make for a reasonably accurate picture as well. With loads of high-brightness and high-contrast HDR punch and solid 4K resolution, the video game experience is as beautiful to have a look at because it is conscious of play. Most gamers shall be thrilled with the U8H.
At this point, you may think a hearty suggestion of the U8H could be forthcoming — and it’s — but it surely took more deliberation than you may think.
Only time will prove whether the U8H will proceed to perform this well into the long run.
I bumped into some bugs as I tested the U8H. These issues were quickly fixed by Hisense via a software update, however the TV had some problems out of the box. Chief amongst them was an entire dropout in picture and sound across all streaming apps. It seems that this was likely brought on by a bug related to the TV’s OTA tuner. Essentially, each time I tuned into local broadcast stations using an antenna and the TV’s ATSC 3.0-capable tuner, then modified the channel, I’d get an entire tuner failure and, together with it, streaming apps would suddenly stop playing video and audio as well.
Hisense did fix this quickly, but I’m frightened the TV shipped out to stores this fashion. My hope is that a TV could be tested well enough that a bug comparable to this could be discovered before the TV landed on store shelves and, subsequently, in customers’ homes. The experience has me concerned about what other surprises could also be lurking across the corner — ones that I could only discover with weeks of ongoing testing.
Zeke Jones/Digital Trends
I also wonder about ongoing support for the U8H. Will future updates slow the TV down? Will it get needed future updates? One would hope so, but I actually have a Hisense TV from 2019 that has turn out to be so lethargic, that I can hardly stand to make use of it any longer. Might the U8H suffer the identical fate?
In the long run, I’m going to go ahead and recommend the U8H since the experience I actually have had over the past few days and proceed to must today has been excellent. Only time will prove whether the U8H will proceed to perform this well into the long run — an announcement I suppose might be made about lots of today’s TVs.
The Hisense U8H offers tremendous brightness, contrast, and color performance. Its display of 4K content in SDR, HDR, and Dolby Vision is pretty much as good if not higher than that of TVs that cost two or thrice as much. It’s also a superb selection for gamers, and it sounds great besides. Where the U8H struggles is with cleansing up lower-resolution content and resolving some low frame rate motion.
With that disclosed, the U8H’s overall performance for the value can only be described as flabbergasting.
The U8H is a flabbergastingly good TV. Print that on the box.